Warm Bodies is about a zombie who falls in love.
Yes, you read that right. A zombie who falls in love, with a girl–a living girl. It’s also about much more than that, as most zombie books/movies/TV shows are. Zombies are the perfect metaphor for authors to expose what they have decided is the fatal flaw of humanity. In the case of Warm Bodies, this is our selfishness, fear, and hate; specifically the point at which those things snuff out our ability to love, and therefore our reason to live.
R is feeling disconnected and aimless. As well he should, he’s dead. He only exists now to eat and wander the airport he and his hord of zombies call home. But what sets him appart from the other zombies is the fact that he is aware of this, and that awareness doesn’t stop him from wondering about who he was and what is he is now. One day, while out hunting, he and his group come across some human teenagers out gathering supplies. The obvious battle ensues, and R eats the leader of the Living group, a boy in his early twenties. When he bites into this boy’s brain, R gets visions of the boy’s life and his girlfriend, Julie. R finds Julie among the fighting and, for reasons he doesn’t quite understand, saves her.
The ensuing love story is not as disgusting as it first sounds. It’s not anymore necromantic than Buffy and Angel, because obviously these zombies are not the usual Walking Dead variety. In this world, there is a spectrum of zombie-ness. Most cling to their humanity in one way or another, though not all of them are as self-ware as R.
WARNING: Past this point there are some unavoidable spoilers. If you don’t want those, stop reading here and know that I highly recommend this book
The most interesting parts of the book for me were the ways in which the author brought the theme full circle. The theme that I got from this particular zombie book was: what keeps us human/alive is our ability to love another person, and once we lose that we lose everything. It turns out that the boy that R eats, Perry (Julie’s boyfriend), was actually planning on committing suicide-by-zombie that day anyway. Having lost both of his parents, he no longer saw the point of living in the post-apocalypse. Through eating the boy who no longer wanted to live, R realizes he no longer wants to be dead. He finds his reason for living in the memories of the boy he helped commit suicide. It’s so beautifully balanced and poetic, it makes me really mad that I didn’t write it. All of this is made even more impressive by the fact that this is Isaac Marion’s debut novel.
It’s been a while since I’ve bought, started, and finished a book all in one day. But I couldn’t stop myself with Warm Bodies, I never got to the point where I felt I needed a break. In fact, the plot itself moves so quickly there didn’t seem like was any room for a break. I had to see it through to the end, and I was not disappointed.
What was the last book you read in one sitting?
Read it now!
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